Russell attributes options volume growth to alternative investors

According to Washington-based Russell Investment Group, monthly volumes for derivatives referencing its indexes hit new highs last month. Kelly Haughton, the group’s Strategic Director of Russell Indexes, attributed some of the upturn to an increase in the number of investors in hedge funds and other alternatives using Russell index products as part of their portfolio strategy.

Russell said a total of 2.8 million options contracts referencing iShares Russell 2000 and iShares Russell 2000 Value, which are exchange-traded funds (ETFs), traded in August.

The Chairman and Chief Executive of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), William Brodsky, said that growth so far this year in volumes of Russell index-based products on the CBOE had been “explosive” – a trend that he expects to continue. In August, the options exchange added the iShares Russell Microcap Index to the suite of Russell index-based products it lists.

Russell estimates that around $2.5 trillion worth of assets are benchmarked to its indexes.

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